Monday, January 30, 2012

Google Plus (G+) For Dummies Part I

**THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CHANGES TO G+ SINCE THIS SERIES WAS POSTED, BUT THE BASICS ARE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME - If you need to contact me with questions or concerns, please click HERE

Well, At least what this dummy knows so far....

As most of you probably know by now, Google is doing away with GFC (Google Friend Connect) as of March 2012.  So.... If you are currently using GFC as the primary tool for people to follow your blog/website, what do you do?

What options do you have?

At the moment, Google is saying that Blogger/blogspot blogs will still have the use of and access to GFC after March 2012 and of course, there are other ways for readers to follow a blog as well, such as:

RSS Feed
Email Subscription
Networked Blogs
and a myriad of other social networks or social networking tools

Will these tools work for me?

That depends on what you are looking for from them. They are all useful and have their purpose, but the issues that I've been made aware of with some of these other tools is that:

1) Some tools can be difficult for you to keep track of the number of followers you have, which I'm told can make it hard for blogs who have agreements with sponsors that require them to provide stats that show exactly how many people are subscribed to/following their site.

2) Some tools lack features that allow you to just click an icon, button or badge and be taken to a page where you can
  • View the profile for the blog/owner or
  • Follow that blog/owner back

What does Google recommend?

Google is recommending that bloggers start using their new site, Google+ (also referred to as Google Plus or G+)

OK. That seems easy enough, doesn't it? Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't.  If you're like I was when I first heard the news about GFC, well... you immediately got a headache.

What is G+ ? and how do you go about opening a G+ account? Better still, once you've started a G+ account, how do you use it? How do people follow you through this new tool?  and how will you know if and when they do? How do you link your blog to your G+ account? Will people see my blog posts on G+? and if so, who will be able to see them?

I'm going to do my best to help answer some of these vexing questions, but let me just start by saying that:

1) I'm NOT a G+ expert and
2) I'm NOT exactly the most tech savvy person on earth.

So, when I find myself scratching my head and/or breaking out in hives because I don't have a clue how to use something that I know is important for me to learn and utilize to the benefit of my blog, I do the first thing that comes into my head...

I google it.

Since I tend to be just a tad verbose and I can easily confuse myself when I get on a roll, I decided to leave it to the people who could do it quickly and do it well. So,  I've compiled a few videos that were extremely helpful to me during my frantic search for answers and I'm happy to share them with you. ***Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.

OK.  Let's get started with the basics.

First, you need to have a Google Account. If you already have a Google Account, skip this step and go to the next step.

How to create a Google account and set up your Google+ profile:

Video courtesy of Paul Melrose. The series can be found and viewed at his blog/portfolio The Tao of E-Learning 

How to manage your Google+ Profile cont'd:
(This video also shows you where to link your Google+ Page to your blog/website)

Video courtesy of Paul Melrose. The series can be found and viewed at his blog/portfolio The Tao of E-Learning

How to customize your privacy settings:

Video courtesy of Tracy Raiteri.

OK.... Hopefully this makes sense so far.  I'd really love your feedback, so please don't hesitate to leave a comment. If there is anything that I haven't covered or that you'd like to know more about, I'll do my best to find the answer to your question and include it in a new post or answer it in the comments section.

Please click HERE to go to my other blog to see Part II and all further posts/videos/tutorials for Google +  (This is not a shameless promotion for my other blog. I promise. It's just that this blog is primarily a food blog and my other blog is better suited for things not related to food. Cross my heart... )

Part II includes: Connecting G+ to other social networking accounts; Posting, editing posts and commenting on other people's posts; In-depth management of circles.

*** The videos used in this post and any subsequent posts on this subject, here or on my other blog, were used with the permission of the owner(s) that I was able to reach and who in turn replied to my request. If one of these videos is yours and you prefer that I do not use it here, please let me know in the comments section below and I will remove it immediately.

I'm linking up with new parties today!

Growing Home


  1. This was very helpful. Google+ confuses me more than anything in this world...I know it's sad. Thank you, great post!

    1. Tracie: You're welcome! It's not sad at all. Believe me... This has been confusing for a lot of people, including me. LOL Hopefully, we can all figure this out together.

  2. Hi there, Mary! This is by far the best explanation all put together in a nice tidy package! Thank you so much for this! Now to see if I have the determination to actually DO it, ha! PS Thanks for stopping by my blog! I don't have as much time to work on it/learn about it as I'd like to, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. PLUS, I get to meet lotsa cool gals like yourself and am learning so much! Yay!

    1. Ang: Thank you very much, but I'm not the brains behind it all. LOL I had a heck of a time tracking them down, but I was lucky enough to find the videos that these very tech-savvy people so generously shared. I just tried to put it all together in a cohesive way.

      I think you have a great point. It's probably best to try to have fun figuring it all out. (after we all take our Exedrine, that is) :~)

  3. OMG, it all just makes my brain hurt! I'm lucky I can answer my phone, which does far more than just make phone calls even though that's all I want from it. Klout, Pinterest, Google + ... why can't they just make things simple and leave them alone for technodolts like me who have neither the time nor the inclination to learn the new stuff??? Okay, done ranting now! Thank you SO MUCH for helping to sort out all the nonsense ... :)

    1. Mary, Mary, Mary... You totally crack me up! I'm gonna have to steal "technodolts" from you. Love it! It fits me so well. To be 100% truthful, I spent two weeks putting this post together and came close to having panic attacks over the possibility of screwing it up! Feel free to rant here any time. ;~)

  4. Yikes! As one who is not very computer savvy, looking at these videos has truly made my head spin. I'm not even sure if I want to bother learning all these "little details." It looks very complicated with too many buttons to click for this and that.

    Humm . . . I guess my "blogging career" is done, as far as the Google platform is concerned. Bummer! :(

    At any rate, thanks for sharing this with us.

    -M. Wildflower, visiting from Growing Home link-up

    1. Oh, Mrs M... I'm so sorry if I just confused the issue further. I can assure you that you're not alone in your feelings about Google's decision to do this. I'm reading all sorts of commentary from folks who are frustrated with the changes and the lack of instruction that's being provided.

      Please don't consider ending your blogging career over this. I know it all seems like a foreign language at first, but I found that once I got my account started, it wasn't as bad as it seemed at first.

      I'm putting a link to my email at the top of the post and I hope you'll contact me with any questions, if you decide to go for it. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that I can while you're setting things up. If you need information about any of the other tools, I'll be glad to help with those as well.

  5. Hi Mary, great post and Blog! I'm a new follower, I came from Mrs M Wildflowers blog...Do I have this right? If I'm a blogger/blogspot only user then my google friend connect will still work just like it has been? The only problem is I may lose followers that are not blogger/blogspot users, is that right? In which case, I don't need to sign up for the google+ at all if all my followers are on blogger/blogspot. This is just confusing, I don't have any other accounts like facebook etc...and I really only like the blogger posting etc...Thanks a bunch for all the help, Jennifer

  6. Hi Jennifer! Thank you! and thanks for following too! OK. Let's see...

    Yes, As long as you and the blog you want to follow both have blogger/blogspot blogs, nothing will change.

    Yes, People who do not have a blogger blog will have to find another way to follow you and you them, after March 1st.

    There are a few options for people with Wordpress, etc blogs to follow you. The easiest are probably RSS and email. All you would have to do is add HTML/Text widgets to your sidebar so that people can subscribe to your blog and get your posts delivered to them that way. (see my sidebar to see what they look like)

    You can follow them the same way as long as they have either of those options available. (which they usually do)

    If the blog you want to follow doesn't have RSS or email, you might have to use one of the other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. If not, you can make a blog list and link their blog URL's to it and keep track of them that way.

    I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here or email me through my link at the top of this post. (don't forget to include your email address so that I can email you back!) Oh... and hang in there!

  7. Well, I think after watching the great videos you posted I have a much better handle on G+. Thank you very much.

    Have you seen Linky Followers. It is new as of yesterday. Check it out here.

  8. thank you very much for the explanations in this post. All of the million social media sites are too time consuming for me to even want to figure out! I just like writing a simple post and reading a simple post...craziness I think!!
    I am now your newest gfc follower..pls follow back if you can.

  9. Thanks Tanya... I'm glad it helped! Yes, I did find the new Linky Followers tool at another blog and I went to their site immediately and linked up both of my blogs. Thanks for passing on the tip, though! It should help a lot of bloggers feel more comfortable about the March 1st changes.

  10. Hi momto8! So glad you stopped by and thanks for the follow! I popped over and followed back this morning!

    You might want to look into the new Linky Follow tool that Tanya (above) is referring to. It's more like GFC and was pretty easy to sign up. You can get to the site by clicking on the logo on the widget under my GFC box.

    Very nice to meet you!

  11. good info! thanks and . . .
    welcome to tina´s picstory!!! :)

  12. I love this blog and am so glad I found it - I am your newest LF Follower from TheStuffofSuccess. Please follow back - thanks and have a terrific evening.

  13. Mary, I need to go through this step by step to see what Google+ really can do for me. I have to admit that I've been reluctant to play around with it up to this point. You have some great recipes I'd like to try- I'm kind of in a rut. I have adjust many recipes to accommodate a carb-counting husband. (but I still cheat.. LOL) If I followed his regimen, I'd be a skinny young thing. Well, maybe not young, but you get it! Thanks for stopping by, following, and leaving a nice comment. ~ Sue


I love comments! I read every one and they truly make my day! I no longer allow anonymous comments due to increases in spam, etc. SUBSCRIBE to the COMMENTS on this post (below) to get a notice of my reply via email! Thanks for stopping by and for absolutely making my day! XOXO Mary

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